Nurses Chamber: Resignations Point to Bad State of Health Care

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Nurse protests in January (TASR archive)

Bratislava, January 25 (TASR) – According to Nurses and Midwives Chamber (SKSaPA) president Iveta Lazorova, nurses don’t want to abandon their patients when handing in their notice, but they see no other measure available for pointing to the bad situation in health care, Lazorova told TASR on Monday.

Lazorova said that according to the law, nurses can’t go on strike like teachers are able to do. “For four years we’ve been negotiating, writing petitions … but this Government has only ignored us. It hasn’t worked on our comments,” said Lazorova.

According to the chamber, the reason behind the resignations isn’t only the need for increased salaries, but also the lack of money in the system and the inefficient use of that money.

“The lack of nurses means lowered quality of medical care,” said Lazorova, adding that if politicians don’t see to better working conditions and appropriate remuneration, there will be still fewer nurses in the future.

Lazorova said that 854 nurses at 11 hospitals are working out their notice. The chamber thinks that Prime Minister Robert Fico should address the nurses’ resignations. The chamber sent an open letter to Fico last week, asking him for a meeting because Health Minister Viliam Cislak doesn’t want to meet them.

According to Fico, Cislak has his full support. Fico said that nurses have the right to “some kind of protest”, but he “wouldn’t abandon a patient”. He stressed that €55 million will go towards higher salaries for health-care workers this year.

Nurses are dissatisfied with the law on the salaries of health-care workers, which adjusted their salaries as of January despite the fact that President Andrej Kiska didn’t sign the law even the second time around, meaning that the legal norm is valid without his approval. Nurses say that the law doesn’t take their demands into consideration. They want an increase in the coefficients for calculating salaries and also increases for every three years of practice. Cislak, however, considers the law to be sound and correct. He described the nurses’ resignations as a protest against increased salaries.